Chinese, Italian presidents agree to promote greater partnership

World Today

A day of tours and bilateral talks for Chinese President Xi Jinping on day two of his official visit to Italy. Both countries are working to strengthen ties and pave the way for Italy to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative. CGTN’s Michal Bardavid is in Rome with more.

China and Italy are about to embark on a new journey with stronger ties than ever.

On Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella before gathering with business leaders from both countries. Xi and Mattarella later visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Rome and paid their respects.

Much of the excitement is related to Saturday, where Chinese and Italian officials are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding that will welcome Italy as the first G7 country to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Leaders of both countries say that Italy’s membership in the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative will be beneficial for the people of both countries.

Prior to his arrival in Rome, Chinese President Xi said it could be the beginning of a new era for China and Italy.

“We want to strengthen the synergies between our respective development strategies to enhance cooperation in the infrastructure, port, logistics and maritime transport sectors in order to build a series of concrete projects along the Silk Road,” Xi said.

Italy’s leader stressed that the new agreement would be a win-win situation in many areas.

“The ancient Silk Road was an instrument of knowledge among peoples and a tool to share reciprocal discoveries,” Mattarella said. “Even the new Silk Road must be a two-way street to share not only goods, but also skills, ideas, knowledge, forward-looking solutions to common problems and projects for the future.”

On Saturday afternoon Chinese President Xi is also expected to travel to Sicily’s capital city Palermo.

As China and Italy will be marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2020, leaders have decided to hold the 2020 cultural year of Chinese tourism in Italy and the Italian one in China.

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